Buying the Best Mountain Bike Saddles: A Complete Buyer’s Guide for 2019

by Daniel T
by Daniel T
Last Updated: 07/10/2019

Aimlessly wandering the Internet for the best mountain bike saddles can be quite tiresome, but despite it not being the most riveting MTB task, it needs to be done.

You’ll be glad to know that our team have put their bottom on the line and tested out a wealth of different mountain bike seats. After trialling the components and spending days enduring some of the bad seats that are available on the market, we have shared our conclusion here.

You’ll find a review for each one and help you find the particular saddle that is most suited to you.

Read on for our top 10 favourite mountain bike saddles, along with a review on each and of course, a complete guide on buying the saddle that you need.

Looking for the best MTB Saddle?

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Specialized S-Works Phenom Carbon MTB Saddle
  • Use: MTB and Cross-Country
  • Rails: FACT carbon rails
  • Weight: 153g
Click for Best Price
Selle San Marco Mantra Superleggera Saddle
  • Use: Road and MTB
  • Rails: The Crossing X Shape Knot
  • Weight: 116g
Click for Best Price
Fizik Gobi M3K:IUM Saddle
  • Use: MTB
  • Rails: Alloy, 8% lighter than titanium
  • Weight: 200-210g
Click for Best Price

Top 10 Saddles: Our Expert Pick

1.
Specialized S-Works Phenom Carbon MTB Saddle

Specifications

  • Use: MTB and Cross-Country
  • Rails: FACT carbon rails
  • Weight: 153g

Our number one rated saddle comes in carbon and has been designed by Specialized.

It’s been created especially for those looking to ride light, the lightweight design is sleek and comfortable. They’ve tackled the seat from every angle- offering sufficient padded comfort whilst also ensuring that it is stiff and able to withstand vibrations from the ride.

Enjoy a complete snug fit, with this carbon saddle for your mountain bike. It’s ideal for all-day riding and can be embraced during all mountain biking.

Comes equipped with superlight EVA padding, low friction panels for longer rides and also has strong oversized rails to intercept the impact.

Reasons to Buy

  • It’s made from carbon and is super-lightweight
  • Comfortable for long rides
  • The rails are FACT, oversized and strong
  • Tuned for racing, with stiffness and an anti-snag tail
  • Great mobility

Reasons to Avoid

  • It isn’t the cheapest

2.
Selle San Marco Mantra Superleggera Saddle

Specifications

  • Use: Road and MTB
  • Rails: The Crossing X Shape Knot
  • Weight: 116g

This unique saddle has been cultivated by the experienced brand, Selle San Marco. With a cut-out and rare shape, it is a sought-after saddle that provides structure and flexibility, all at the same time

Again, it is a bespoke saddle that’s been engineered to provide all-day comfort whilst also adapting to trails. It has central relief, which takes any unwanted stress off it.

Boasting impressive technology, the Mantra saddle remembers your shape- and moulds to your body type.

What’s it made from? It has a great combination of silicon, titanium and carbon fibres. Meshed together, the materials provide a strong and a lightweight design.

After trialling the saddle, we believe that although the brand hasn’t specified, it is catering for lighter riders.

There’s no super-squishy padding, it is a firm style and works well for fast trails.

Reasons to Buy

  • It is super lightweight
  • Great for long rides
  • Strong rails
  • Versatile for various trails and uses

Reasons to Avoid

  • It is for lighter riders (80kg and lighter)

3.
Fizik Gobi M3K:IUM Saddle

Specifications

  • Use: MTB
  • Rails: Alloy, 8% lighter than titanium
  • Weight: 200-210g

Do you love to ride extreme trails that incorporate steep hills and bumpy tracks?

Then you will enjoy the engineering of this Fizik saddle. The model comes with a streamline design and has been created as a long nose saddle.

It can take the strain and vibrations away from the ground with its rails and shape. The tail flex absorbs the shock and keeps you comfortable.

The reason we love this Fizik Gobi M3K is because it has premium technology and shock-absorbing qualities. Worldwide MTB enthusiasts have appreciated subtle adjustments to the overall build, the shell of the seat flex to allow the inner thighs to move whilst riding. This allows full leg movement and not only is it comfortable it can potentially improve performance.

It’s a brand that does nothing by halves, their experts have been working hard in the lab, ensuring that there’s reason for every minor detail. That includes the material, that is made up of glass, co-injected nylon and alloy rails, that are lighter than titanium.

Reasons to Buy

  • It is lightweight with alloy rails
  • Has lots of flex to improve comfort and performance
  • Streamline, long nose design for speed across all terrain
  • Available in different sizes

Reasons to Avoid

  • Firm padding isn’t for everyone

4.
Ergon SME3 Comp Saddle

Specifications

  • Use: MTB, Enduro, Gravity
  • Rails: TiNox
  • Weight: 228g

Celebrated by a number of well-known athletes, this Ergon saddle is had a lot to live up to. It is one used during competition by many.

You don’t need to compete, in order to enjoy professional standards. The saddle comes with a lightweight seat, durable rails and shaped perfectly for downhill rides.

It’s ideal for mountain biking, with its ability to soften the bumps. Ergon have ensured that it not only brandishes ‘comfy’ padding but is also equipped to tackle all riding. You can enjoy all of your favourite trails throughout the UK, as it is comfortable during all angles.

The long nose design allows you to wriggle back when needed, it’s setup for those that enjoy enduro trails, you can climb the steep inclines or ride down them without hassle.

Comes with TiNox rails, a MicroFibre cover, AirCell foam padding and is the perfect pick for those that love gravity, MTB and enduro riding.

Reasons to Buy

  • It is a lightweight seat
  • Available in small and medium
  • Can be used for different types of riding
  • Soft padded seat

Reasons to Avoid

  • Has been listed as a male only saddle (we do not agree)

5.
WTB Volt Saddle

Specifications

  • Use: All Mountain Biking, Enduro, Cross Country
  • Rails: Titanium
  • Weight: 204g

More than a tantalising style, this seat is just as practical as it is elegant. WTB caught our attention and we knew that we had to trail it for ourselves.

Rather than taking people’s word for it, we like to run real tests. We trialled the saddle during a number of routes and also used it on various frames.

It was pleasing to see how easy the saddle can be fixed onto most bikes, it also comes in a quality build. It doesn’t just look beautiful; it has an assortment of premium features that make it comfortable and performance enhancing.

This is the next generation of saddles. Don’t overlook the capabilities that a brilliant saddle has, they can make or break many cyclists during their ride.

Our favourite specification is its shape, it is subtly rounded and is like sitting on heaven. WTB also carved out some impressive technology, offering microfiber covers, the perfect width for most and a design that allows you to push it into your preferred position.

If you’re all about comfort and performance then you will want to consider this lightweight, padded saddle by WTB.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light enough for XC Competition
  • Padding that consists of microfiber and Kevlar Corners for comfort
  • Beautifully elegant design and shape
  • It is robust with titanium rails

Reasons to Avoid

  • Can be hard to find

6.
SDG Circuit MTN CrMo Saddle

Specifications

  • Use: All Mountain Biking, Enduro, Cross Country, Road
  • Rails: CrMo
  • Weight: 220g

The self-proclaimed, king of acceleration has created a buzz in the MTB community. After hearing lots about this particular saddle, we thought that it was time to put it to use.

SDG are a well-known brand and when they announced this saddle, we certainly sat up and took notice. With that said, no one component gets an automatic recommendation. We like to try to break these products down and that’s why we put this saddle under the magnifying glass.

After many of the claims that have been circulating, we were expecting a lot.

It is stiff, light and was originally labelled a road saddle. Since then, it has became even lighter and this model now extends to a number of sporting elements.

This includes mountain biking, road racing and enduro-racing.

Again, the SDG circuit is another saddle that offers Kevlar corners and streamline designs. It allows you to put the bike to the test at speed.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light enough for XC Competition
  • Reliable brand
  • Durable design

Reasons to Avoid

  • It was originally designed a road saddle

7.
ISM PL1.1

Specifications

  • Use: All Mountain Biking, Enduro, Cross Country
  • Rails: Chromoly/Titanium
  • Weight: 413g

One of the most obscure saddles on the list. It features a distinctive split nose design.

We’ll go on to explain the reason for this, but it’s key to note that this saddle model has developed over recent years. ISM have taken the padding away from the nose purposely, in order to ensure no unnecessary pressure is applied to you when seated.

From the padding to the size of the seat, it has been meticulously designed and has been created to help you improve your performance. You can ride all day with this seat, thanks to its split nose and length that allows you to ride uphill.

For what you lose on the front of the seat, you can gain on the back. The split relieves pressure and the back of the saddle offers extra padding, sure to keep you comfortable throughout your adventure.

Maximise blood-flow, rid of numbness and enjoy fast speeds with this professional-like saddle. Much of the emphasis of this innovation, is on the pelvic positioning, rather than the sit bones. ISM’s argument is that riders don’t actually sit on their ‘sit bones’ and instead put unwanted pressure on their pelvis.

Reasons to Buy

  • Has a split-nose design to take pressure off you
  • Tackles numbness and increases blood-flow
  • Emphasis on pelvis positioning
  • Latest technology for comfort
  • Foam and gel padding

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not everybody is fond of the split-nose design

8.
Specialized Henge Comp MTB Saddle

It’s difficult to pinpoint the best saddles on the market. It was also hard not to include a compilation of all Specialized’s components. They have got it spot on with their saddle designs and the Henge Comp edition is an example of that.

As you set your eyes on this saddle, it becomes immediately apparent that it is a firmer design. Not everybody enjoys the super-soft gel padding. If you like a harder seat then you’ll love this choice.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t got padding. It comes with extra level 3 padding and protects you from the vibrations.

Finer details such as low friction properties enable you to get on and off the saddle, completely hassle free, it also makes the entire riding experience as smooth as possible.

Lightweight, aesthetically pleasing, comfort technology and reasonably priced. What more could you ask for? It is ideal for MTB lovers of all sizes!

Reasons to Buy

  • Perfect for riders of all shapes and sizes
  • Increases blood-flow and has been lab tested
  • Firm, yet padded seat with body geometry
  • Two sizes available
  • Improved mobility and pedal efficiency

Reasons to Avoid

  • We agree it’s lightweight but they fail to list exact weight

9.
Nukeproof Vector DH Comp Cro-Mo Saddle

Specifications

  • Use: MTB, Enduro, Cross Country
  • Rails: CR-Mo
  • Weight: 218g

You didn’t think we’d forgotten about the prestigious Nukeproof outfit, did you?

We trialled a number of their saddles and other components, one part that really stuck out to us, was this Nukeproof vector DH Comp saddle.

It’s for riders that merely wish to embrace the British views and talked-about trails but it is also perfect for comp bikers. If you are a competitive mountain bike cyclist, you’ll love what this saddle offers.

Designed and influenced by the fighter jet, it has aerodynamic properties that include both speed and comfortability. If you want dynamic, durable and snug, then this saddle is ideal and it can be bought at great value.

Aside to the advanced properties that this pick possesses, we were mostly impressed by how much you get for your money. If you are looking for a saddle under £30, then you have found one!

Nukeproof are a renowned company, consistently generating high quality, affordable products.

Reasons to Buy

  • Available at great value
  • Slim and aero-dynamic, built for speed
  • It is robust

Reasons to Avoid

  • If you like cushion, opposed to firm saddles, this isn’t for you

10.
PRO Griffon CRMO Saddle

Specifications

  • Use: MTB, Enduro, Cross Country

Since we’re on the subject of great value saddles, let’s take a look at this Pro edition. Streamlined and built for serious MTB’ers, it comes with everything that you need to be comfortable for hours.

There are subtle engineering tactics behind this saddle, including a cutout design. The middle of the seat has a cutout section created to increase blood flow, relieve pressure and increase overall comfort.

The padded polyurethane protects your coccyx and lumbar area. Comfort of your backside should not be compromised, it’s something that the experienced mountain bikers are complete aware of.

Thankfully companies such as PRO are going far and wide, to do the due diligence when engineering.

Make the most of the dynamic, modernised seat that is sturdy and ready to accompany you on your venture.

Reasons to Buy

  • Streamline for fast trails
  • Durable rails sure to last
  • Increases blood-flow
  • Narrow nose for controlled climbing

Reasons to Avoid

  • Narrow nose for controlled climbing

What Mountain Bike Saddle to Choose?

It is easy to overlook the saddle, but it is the one thing that can make or break you when riding long distances. Comfort is key and the seat plays a big role in ensuring that you’re happy when MTB riding.

Although each person will have their own preference- that takes into account- what type of riding you do, how big you are and what you favour, it is still great to listen to our expert team’s opinion before deciding on your purchase.

Size

You can choose the size of your seat when ordering; each of us will have a different preference. With that said, you will want to pick specific types of seats and shapes for certain types of riding.

Width

When it comes to width, you will be able to select a measurement that suits you. Have an idea of the size that you’re looking for, it will be one that matches your size and your sit-bone. This isn’t something that’s easier for new riders, ensure that you have an idea of this before ordering.

Length

Length is a little bit different. Dynamic cyclists looking for speed will want saddles smaller in length. Whereas those climbing and riding hills, will want to enjoy the long-nose saddles, as they are comfortable and easy to position yourself onto, regardless of the angle you’re climbing.

The longer saddles sometimes feel as though they are rocking side-to-side during high-speeds. Hence why faster riders may wish to enjoy shorter seats.

Depth

Saddle depth can change the position by 1cm. You can alter it with a dropper post but extra-depth also adds to being able to reposition.

Padding & Cushion

There’s no easy way to describe padding, because each saddle comes with its advantages. Again, it will be down to what you find comfortable. Lots of padding can boast the most comfort, but softer doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes a firmer seat is perfect for long, gruelling rides.

If you ride with padded shorts then you won’t need to worry about padding too much. In our reviews we detail the padding and our experience with the seat.

Chassis on the Bike

A little off topic? That’s where you’re wrong- the chassis has a big affect on the comfort of the saddle. If the frame that the saddle comes on, has good shock absorption, it will lessen the need for extra padding.

You will also want to check the rails attached to your seat. First off, check that the shape of the rail is compatible with your seat post before committing to your purchase. It is then a case of picking the material that you need, steel is tough and value for money, titanium absorbs the shock and vibrations, whilst carbon is lightweight.

FAQs

How to Buy the Best Saddle?

It’s very much an individual choice. They do say ‘horse for courses’ and that rings true when it comes to buying your mountain bike saddle. Although it comes down to personal preference, we can tell a quality bike part when we see one.

Our team of experts have gladly tested these saddles, after exerting them over various trails and types of rides, we have reported back with the results. You can find all of the star ratings and things we love about each saddle. As you can see we don’t just talk about the good, we pick up on the weaknesses of each perch.

If you are looking to enjoy the best saddle of 2019, then you are already on the right path, we have highlighted what you need to know. As if that’s not enough, we have also listed what we consider to be the top 10, all that’s left is the easy part. Find one that suits your budget, style and trails, you can then purchase within seconds.

Things to bear in mind when purchasing a bike saddle includes:

  • What use it lists– cross country, enduro, mountain biking
  • Its size– both length and width
  • Depth– how far it goes back, what type of nose it has
  • The chasis and rails
  • Padding and overall comfort
  • Price– is it good value? Check that it is in your budget

Our Verdict:

As you can see- we have picked the Specialized S-Works Phenom in carbon as our number one pick. You could make arguments for any of the top five to be placed at the top.

It will come down to what you favour and what use the saddle will get when it is fitted onto your mountain bike. If you prefer all-round mountain biking, there are seats up to the task, you can also find specific enduro racing saddles that factor in the climbs and descents.

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